In what you might call a staggered start the 'runners' more closely resembled drunks stumbling out of a pub at closing time than the next generation of Usain Bolts or Linford Christies.
While top athletes' bodies are often compared to highly-tuned machines, the world's first ever robot marathon somewhat turned that idea on its head.
As the starting gun went one contestant stood at the start line rooted to the spot, while another tottered forward a couple of steps before promptly falling on his face.
The event, which started two days ago, is still under way in Osaka, Western Japan, but it seems our top athletes shouldn't fear being replaced by more efficient robots just yet.
The fastest human marathon ever completed took just two hours, three minutes and 59 seconds, a record set by Ethiopian running legend Haile Gebrselassie on September 28, 2008. The average time for completing a marathon is 4 hours 30 minutes for men and 5 hours 10 minutes for women.
But the winner of the race, Robovie PC, took a slightly more leisurely time of 54 hours, 57 minutes and 50.26 seconds.
In total five two-legged robot entrants went under starters orders on Thursday but some are not expected to complete the requisite 26 miles until Sunday, when their human counterparts run in the popular Tokyo marathon.
Not all the robo-runners were able to 'run' in the right direction from the starting line, some didn't move at all while one paused and then fell straight on its metal face, although it impressively stood up again courtesy of a clearly much-needed self-righting mechanism.
Two entrants from the Osaka University of Engineering's teams got off to a shaky start and it was the Vstone droids that performed best, providing the eventual winner.
Vstone chief executive Nobuo Yamato hopes the event will become international in the future.